A look at elevating the classic burger in Baton Rouge
When it comes to classic, American cuisine there is nothing like a burger. You can top it with cheese, bacon, pickles–whatever you like–but the fundamentals are all the same. Two pieces of beautifully soft bread hugging a savory patty; it’s everything the American dream is made of.
That dream has graced the Capital City in recent years and we all have many restaurants to thank for that. Each bringing their own spin to the classic, there wasn’t much to fix but rather elevate, giving us a burger experience like no other.
The trend has been echoed throughout Baton Rouge, making us ask the question–what inspired this change in an American classic? So, we spoke with Fat Cow Burgers, Our Mom’s Restaurant and Bar, and Curbside Burgers for insight to the world of burgers. For Doug Hosford, owner of Fat Cow, he finds that as time goes on, people are requiring a higher quality of food.
“People want to know what they’re putting in their bodies and where everything came from,” Hosford said. “We saw a market that Americans’ tastes have gotten more refined. We’re seeing less chain restaurants, however, people don’t always have a lot of time [to enjoy higher quality foods].”
As a professionally trained chef, it was this notion that pushed Hosford to focus his efforts in elevating the burger game in Baton Rouge. Not only does Fat Cow prize unique burgers with higher end ingredients like the “Napa Burger,” topped with sliced pear, goat cheese, red onion marmalade and arugula, they go to extreme length to ensure even their basic hamburgers include the highest ingredients.
“I always say, ‘Each individual ingredient needs to be delicious on its own,’” Hosford said. This means, their burgers are ground each morning, never frozen and are topped with as many in-house and fresh ingredients as possible. Even their shakes, a classic partner to a flavorful burger, embody many of Louisiana’s classic flavors such as Pralines and Cream and Bananas Foster with freshly made pralines and flambeed bananas foster.
“The Baton Rouge burger scene has really stepped up in the past few years, [and] we have some really great players,” Hosford states.
As one of those players, Trent Fresnia, one of the founders of Our Mom’s, emphasizes the importance of high-quality ingredients in their restaurant as well and finds that the mass production of burgers is a thing of the past, aiming to better the American classic and “bring a whole new dynamic to it,” Fresina said.
“We want each burger to feel like its own little piece of art. My partner and I have found that first, [people] always eat with [their] eyes, and because of this, appearance is so critical,” Fresina says.
To compliment their hand-ground patties and sourdough buns, Our Mom’s has paired many of America’s favorites with their burgers as seen in their “Mac & Cheese Burger,” which is covered in rich, homemade macaroni and cheese and their “Pizza Burger” with fresh mozzarella and marinara. As if burgers themselves weren’t nostalgic enough for you, Our Mom’s even has a “PB&J Bacon Burger” to remind you of simpler times full of hand-packed lunches with a bite of crispy bacon.
The flavor combinations speak for themselves, but Our Mom’s is constantly on the hunt for fascinatingly delicious pairings taking in suggestions from their team to see what combinations can be created, and even hope to collaborate with other restaurants in the future to bring out the best in their burgers.
For Nick Hufft, owner of Curbside Burger’s, the trend has brought great success, but has also shone light on another piece of the burger-business puzzle.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years. Who our customers are and what they want. How can we give back to our employees and community in the best ways possible? What we need—and want—in a perfect building layout, and what we can do without to make the experience more enjoyable. Currently, we’re building—what we think—is the perfect prototype of a Curbside that we hope to use in a new location soon,” said Hufft.
Along with delicious creations like their Brian 3.0, a burger topped with pork belly preserves, Gorgonzola cheese, and fried onion strings, Curbside delivers unique burger options featuring the freshest ingredients.
“For us, its always been about the beef and bread, and making it all from scratch. Knowing where our beef comes from. Knowing where our bread is coming from. Making condiments. Making the pickles. Just trying to do as much possible from scratch as we can.”
Curbside has become, not only a place where you can bring your family to have a good meal, but a place where you can sit outside on the patio, play some games while listening to live music, and feel at home in the community. As far as the American dream goes, we think it can’t get any better than that.
So, whatever you’re craving—from turkey patties to avocado smash—you’re bound to find it somewhere in Baton Rouge. DIG’s Burger and Beer Week is October 22-27, providing a unique opportunity to get some of these creative creations for only $6 along with beer specials from Tin Roof. Prepare your appetite and check out the burgers at EatBR.com.
By Mackenzie Treadwell and Jessica Rogers | Photos by Mandy Samson | Burger provided by Beausoleil | Model Brandi Zito